May 19, 2022 is the 11th anniversary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD is an event to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion. The day started with a single blog post written by a web developer, Joe Devon. An accessibility professional in Toronto, Jennison Asuncion, stumbled across the blog post and tweeted about Joe’s idea for GAAD. The two joined forces to officially create GAAD leveraging their extensive and respective networks.
What Is Digital Accessibility
The World Wide Web Consortium developed Web standards with the mission to make the Web work for everyone, whatever their technology, location, language, or ability. “When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.” (W3C)
Digitally Accessible Experiences: Why It Matters and How to Create Them
It’s more critical than ever that your digital assets are easily accessible and usable to all of your users. Adopting an accessibility-first design mindset can help your business create a stronger digital presence and an enhanced user experience for all users and ultimately drive more business.
Some examples of digital accessibility could include:
- A screen reader that vocalizes website content for visually impaired individuals
- Closed-captions on videos for hearing impaired individuals
- Images that include alternative text for the visually impaired
- Websites that are easily navigable by a keyboard for those who can’t use a mouse
Why Digital Accessibility Is Important
An estimated 1.85 billion people in the world have disabilities or impairments. (Return on Disability Group) And according to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. (26%) have some type of disability. (CDC)
Digital accessibility can help to create a more inclusive world, especially for people with disabilities. Above all, it can help create equal education, opportunities, ecommerce, and more. For instance, think about how much time you spend on the web. Can you imagine being met with frustration on each visit?
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” — Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
How We’re Celebrating GAAD
Perficient is celebrating GAAD by having its accessibility colleagues share videos of how accessible solutions impact lives. Check out their favorites below!
|How Technology Allowed Me to Read||The Prison of Your Mind|
|Ron McCallum shows how he celebrates the progression of clever tools and adaptive computer technologies. Vonnita Jones' Pick||Sean Stephenson shares his perspective on what it truly means to be disabled. "The only disability is one's refusal to adapt." Brendan O'Hara's Pick|
|Meet the Deaf-Blind Lawyer Fighting For People With Disabilities||Accessibility And Inclusion For All|
|Haben Girma shares how inaccessible the world was/is to her, and how she overcame various obstacles. Samdisha Singh's Pick||The World Economic Forum shares personal stories of disability inclusion and innovation around the world. Christina Evans' Pick|
|Web Accessibility Perspectives by the W3C||How New Technology Helps Blind People Explore the World|
|Web accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for all. This video provides a compilation of 10 topics. Phil Fortier's Pick||Chieko Asakawa shares how technology and accessible devices helped her to explore the world. Archana Thakare's Pick|
|Creating an Accessible Digital Future||I'm Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much|
|Judy Brewer works on accessibility of the digital world at the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Jennifer Siegfried's Pick||Stella Young might be in a wheelchair, but that doesn't turn her into a noble inspiration for all humanity. Lisa McMichael's Pick|
|Accessible Tech Makes Better Tech For Everyone||Turning Disability Into Ability|
|The best products are coming from places where they think deeply about inclusive design and accessibility says Nina Baliga. Gulen Yilmaz's Pick||Liam Malone believes that technology advances and determination is the key to his success in sport and life. Meenal Udapure's Pick|
|Disability and Work: Let’s stop wasting talent||How I Use Technology as a Blind Person!|
|Hannah Barham-Brown argues that people with disabilities are an asset more employers need to harness. Rachel Wilcox's Pick||Accessibility public speaker and social media influencer Molly Burke shows how Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader helps her use her mobile devices. Chace Lauring's Pick|
Improving Our Own Digital Accessibility
Perficient is actively improving our accessibility across all of our sites, both internal and external to ensure that all our pages are accessible for everyone. For example, we’re making sure colors have high contrast, verifying that screen readers can understand our site, and that it can be navigated without using a mouse. In addition, we’ve been working with some of our own experts, such as Lisa McMichael, to make sure that we’re adding these checks into daily design. We’re making changes and adding normal routines to ensure that we’re doing this every day. And it’s not just web. We’re updating our print and video as well. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight, but we’re on the way to working it into all facets.
For more information about accessible design, contact our experience design experts, check out our Accessibility IQ for your website, download our guide Digitally Accessible Experiences: Why It Matters and How to Create Them, and read our UX for Accessible Design series.